DSOA extends rent subsidies to woo IT professionals and manufacturers

DUBAI — Rental fees for accommodation and offices at Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA) are being subsidised by as much as 60 per cent to entice more IT professionals and manufacturers to work and invest in the free zone, which is tax-free and allows 100 per cent foreign ownership.

By Jose Franco

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Published: Fri 9 May 2008, 10:15 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:32 PM

The scheme is seen to help bring the number of companies in the free zone to 600 by 2012 from the present 119, according to Dr Jihad Kiwan, the chief technology officer for Technology Investment & Education at DSOA.

He said, meanwhile, that more IT companies would consolidate and move towards protecting international property rights (IPR) due to the increasing costs of innovation and production. He stressed that major manufacturers are now down to less than 20 from over a hundred a few years back.

He also said that only 10 of the current firms at DSOA are full-fledged manufacturers and designers in the industry, and attracting more similar companies is the authority’s top priority, he said in an interview on the sidelines of the 17th International Electronics Forum.

The move will boost DSOA’s image as a regional electronics hub, according to Dr Mohammed Al Zarouni, the authority’s vice-chairman and chief executive officer. “Dubai is paying real attention to the development of technology,” he said.

UAE Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri said transactions in the IT and communication sector in the country reached Dh7.4 billion last year, with the 10.1 per cent average annual growth rate to be sustained until 2010 to Dh9.2 billion.

This was due mainly to massive government spending on technology and related products and services while diversifying its economy, he stressed, adding that an advanced legal framework has supported the move.

“The local technology sector in the UAE enjoys one of the most advanced infrastructures and is coupled with a healthy availability of several qualified human resources and pools of talent,” Al Mansouri told the two-day conference, which concludes today at the Madinat Jumeirah.

He added that average growth rate in the IT and communication sector in the Gulf countries and the whole Middle East is one of the highest worldwide, with expenditure and investment to grow 8.5 per cent until 2011 compared to 4.3 per cent in other regions.

“We are confident that this remarkable forum will mark a vital step towards the future, matching Dubai’s phenomenal success story with the latest in the field of IT and electronics, bringing together all expertise under one roof,” he stressed.

Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the chairman of DSOA, said the authority was created by the Dubai government to foster innovation in society and create a knowledge-based economy.

“It is indeed gratifying to see the emergence of electronics and chip design companies in the Technology Oasis,” he said in a welcome address. “These companies are set to provide new momentum for Dubai’s upcoming industrial and technological developments.”

Kiwan said the conference, which was organised by DSOA to be held here for the first time in the Middle East, serves as a platform for manufacturers and professionals to discuss the challenges that the industry faces for the next five years.

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